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Flight Centre swings to $662m loss on COVID-19 travel restrictions

Flight Centre has swung into the red after the COVID-19 pandemic brought global travel to a standstill, but says demand is starting to recover in countries where borders have reopened.

The ASX-listed travel agency on Thursday morning reported a $662 million net loss for the 12 months to June 30, compared to a $264 million profit in the same period last year. Total bookings for the financial year were down 36 per cent to $15.3 billion, it said in a statement to investors.

Flight Centre says revenue bounced back faster than expected in July in locations where borders are open.

Flight Centre says revenue bounced back faster than expected in July in locations where borders are open. Credit:Christopher Pearce

Flight Centre has slowed its cash burn by either standing down or laying off around 70 per cent of its 22,000-strong workforce, and is shutting around half its retail stores worldwide.

Managing director Graham Turner said the company had lowered its cost base to 31 per cent of pre-COVID levels and could break even with around 40 per cent of its pre-COVID level of bookings. Mr Turner said revenue so far this financial year had been ahead of expectations.

“Travel is starting to gradually recover in locations like North America, Europe and South Africa, where domestic borders are now open, although we are also seeing heightened restrictions in Australia and New Zealand after earlier relaxations,” he said.

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